Season of Mist
The trend of progressive extreme metal has certainly kicked off rather intensely, especially with the numerous high quality releases of Ihsahn. Khonsu hails from the same lands as the countless other pioneering bands of second wave of black metal, though with their debut full length album Anomalia one would find more parallels to music that Ihsahn has put out in his post-Emperor career.
However, Khonsu draws more of an industrial/electronic influence with synths greeting the listener right from the start with In Otherness, and one almost feels as though the album were an electronic or ambient one rather than extreme metal. But once things start rolling, there is no mistaking of Khonsu‘s identity as an extreme metal band. The black metal references are extremely clear with the blistering speed that the band often moves at, though the progressive side often rears its head not only with the ability of the band to fuse elements from numerous different genres into the music, but also in the playing style of Grønbech, who handles all the instruments on the album. Grønbech often proves his technical capability and his sense of rhythm with the constantly shifting time signature that is present on the music, and the playing style on the guitars at times such as in the middle of In Otherness bear an uncanny resemblance to Ihsahn‘s work, minus the saxophones that he generously utilises on his later releases like After and Eremita. Furthermore, Grønbech often displays his talents and versatility on the keys, executing neo-classical influenced lead segments with much flair, yet able to make use of the synths as a nice ambient instrument at the same time.
Vocalist Thebon, also of Keep of Kalessin fame shines on the album as well. While not particularly a fan of Keep of Kalessin, especially with the heat that the band has gained over their Reptilian album and sellout moves, he definitely doesn’t hold back on his performance on Anomalia. His vocal ranges from the typical black metal vocal style to one that is low and haunting, and blends in with the entire mood of the music. That said though, the one thing that I didn’t like on the album were his clean vocals, though his ability to fit his vocals into the music is undeniable.
The variety of different styles of music on the album promises to keep the listener enchanted throughout, with each track on the album presenting an entirely different experience from previous tracks. In this aspect, the band has managed to excel as well, preventing the album from falling into the trap of being simply a self-indulgent one. Fast and slow moments on the album intertwine and complement each other, with neither dominating the album, and this allows the band to avoid the pitfall of being too boring or being too flamboyant. The moods on the album are also ever-changing, with not a single stagnant moment, and this keeps the listener constantly on his feet, not knowing what to expect next. And it is also this unpredictability yet ability to maintain coherence throughout the album that makes Anomalia an extremely satisfying release.